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This Week in Diplo: The last Block Party and a few Jack U adventures

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The 2014 Mad Decent Block Party Tour ended last weekend and went out the only way it could: with an insane amalgamation of live sets, after-parties, after-after parties and surprise sets. At one point, fans were swinging from the ceilings, and that is not a metaphor.

Berkeley, CA,

San Francisco after-parties,

Eugene, OR,

And then off to Canada for the final stop.

After which Diplo took a minute to thank his fans as it ended.

The MDBP started in 2008 as a one-off in Philadelphia as a literal block party, not a stadium tour. As you can see in this caption, as well as from the countless social media posts and media coverage throughout the summer, it has grown extraordinarily. Twenty-two stops (not counting after-parties or pop-ups), most of which were sold out and almost 170,000 attendees is no small feat—nor, I would imagine, is putting on a traveling festival of sorts.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 4.34.54 PMFull disclosure, the tour isn’t exactly over. The first Mad Decent Boat Party sets sail from Miami through the Caribbean mid-November. This is either the most exciting or terrifying announcement I’ve received recently. (I’m leaning toward the former.)

2014_MDB_11_LineupGraphic_MarqueeYou might be tempted to think Diplo would, I don’t know, take a week off after the tour. Relax, even. While I see your thought process, I’m here to tell you, you would be wrong in such assumptions.

Diplo and Skrillex have been hard on the campaign trail for Jack U and their MSG New Year’s Eve show. They released a YouTube video. They tweeted and Instagrammed incessantly. They gave tickets away. They tweeted and Instagrammed more.

And then, presumably, once they realized everyone already wants to go, they went to shoot a music video for “Take U There” with Kiesza.

Release details on the video are still unreleased, but the excitement on social media from fans is palpable.

And, lest all the Jack U excitement distract us, let’s remember Diplo is also a formative member of Major Lazer, who also had a pretty sweet summer. They posted a highlight reel on their homepage of the season on Wednesday. If you have a high tolerance for FOMO and/or are comfortable dreaming of next year’s tour this early in the game, give it a watch.

Aside from that, Diplo went to a baseball game (with Skrillex because, obviously) and the dentist. Stars—they’re just like us… sort of.

 

 

This week in Diplo: The kandi debate goes on, the Block Party takes Vegas

This week in Diplo was all about the shows, their after-shows, their after-after shows, and the continued debate over the kandi ban.

Diplo played his Friday night set in Toronto with Walshy Fire (as mentioned last week, one-third of Major Lazer),

and then back-to-back after-party sets, first at Parts and Labour’s basement club and later at The Hoxton.

Saturday, he took himself to Detroit and the trip was not without incident. There, a fan snuck in some kandi (yes, people are still salty over the ban) and threw it at Diplo during his set.

Kandi is primarily plastic, colorful beads woven into bracelets or onto backpacks and clothing and has long been a part of the rave and dance-music scene. PLUR (stands for Peace Love Unity Respect) community members promote them as a bright, positive way to send messages, start conversation and give gifts at relevant events—someone who doesn’t have any kandi gets some from someone covered in it, starts making their own to share, and the tradition grows.

While it all may seems harmless, the flip side of the equation is that kandi has also traditionally been a way to identify a drug dealer at a rave or EDM event; someone covered in kandi might be selling various party favors and could easily be found due to, well, being covered in neon, plastic beads. They are also another apparatus by which people can sneak in drugs (i.e. molly/ecstasy pills which can look like a bead) for personal use.

After the two deaths early in the MDBP tour, organizers needed to take special measures to ensure the safety of concert-goers and banning kandi was one of the steps chosen, to the consternation of many.

In Detroit, however, Diplo responded as we all should when bearing witness to a child throwing a tantrum: He told everyone to give the dude who’d thrown kandi at him a hug.

After Detroit, Vegas happened. On Sunday, the Block Party.

On Monday, Mad Decent Monday at XS Nightclub with RL Grime.

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Most of the photos can’t be posted. But here are a couple that won’t get you fired from work.

Outside of live music, Diplo also released a new Major Lazer track,

changed his Twitter name,

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invented a new word,

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and found time to go swimming.

The Mad Decent Block Party continues this weekend with stops in Denver and Nashville. Get excited (for it or your weekend) with MDBP Official Spotify Playlist.

 

This week in Diplo: Banning Kandi, new Jack U and the Mad Decent Block Party rolls on

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Before we get to the wheres and the hows, let’s answer the age-old question: What is a Diplo?

Diplo is a DJ (playing upwards of 300 shows per year), producer (working with Usher, Snoop Lion, Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne, No Doubt, Beyonce, Madonna, Pharrell, plus more), rapper, songwriter, one half of Jack U (the other half being Skrillex), previously one half (the other half having been Switch) but now one-third of Major Lazer (the other two-thirds being DJs Jillionaire and Walshy Fire), spokesman (Blackberry), Mad Decent label founder (artists include Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, Baauer, plus many more), the inspiration behind an Adult Swim cartoon on Cartoon Network (well, alright, it’s a Major Lazer cartoon), entrepreneur, and sometimes model (hello, Alexander Wang campaign). And the list goes on. It has, most likely, expanded since I began typing this.

(Almost two years ago in a GQ interview Diplo, born Thomas Wesley Pentz, called himself “a cultural distributor.” I could have stuck with that.)

To keep track of it all, each week, we’re going to amuse ourselves recounting his various cultural distributions.

Heading into last weekend, Diplo banned kandi from his Mad Decent Block Party tour. (His most recent statement can be found here.) Some people got pretty mad, but Diplo apologized:

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He then pointed out an alternative to those most upset and got on with playing four kandi-free and completely sold-out sets in three days.

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He spent Friday with his favorite Philadelphia ravers,

Saturday with a few of his nearest and dearest New Yorkers out on Coney Island,

and Saturday 2.0 at the MDBP after-party at Webster Hall. Katy Perry was there.

Sunday, the MDBP crew rolled over to Boston, where the venue was less than ideal but the party pressed on.

On the non-live music front: BBC1 Radio broadcast a recent set from Diplo’s residency at XS Nightclub at the Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas, and what did listeners hear at the 29:50 mark? A new Jack U track. He’d discussed the duo’s new mix-tape during a recent Reddit session, and if this tune is any indication of what’s in store, we’re all in for a seriously  good time.

Somehow, he also found time to get to the studio with this group…

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and this one…

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And then curated a SoundCloud “Random White Dude Be On Kiis FM” mix (it’s awesome) in his free time. Feel free to start your weekend early, stream it here.

The Mad Decent Block Party continues this weekend with stops in Toronto, Detroit and Las Vegas. A full list of tour dates and locations can be found here.

M.I.A. and Partysquad release 'Gold'

Dutch DJ duo Partysquad were part of the sprawling crew of producers behind M.I.A.’s brilliant and noisy Matangi album, helping bring to life the Shampoo-referencing standout track “Double Bubble Trouble.” M.I.A.’s returned the favor now by appearing on the pair’s new Partysquad Summer Mixtape 2014. Along with a remix of “Double Bubble Trouble,” the 77-minute DJ mix also features a brand new collaboration with the Sri Lankan-born singer.

With its rowdy pile-up of handclaps, whistles, Caribbean rhythms, and woozy, pitch-bent synthesizer horns,”Gold” would have fit in well on Matangi. Actually, it sounds quite a bit like a Diplo production–Partysquad co-authored Major Lazer’s cacophonous reggae/EDM hybrid “Original Don”–so it does a pretty good job of suggesting what it might sound like if the creative partnership of M.I.A. and the DJ hadn’t flamed out as spectacularly as their romantic one.


Diplo's new remix turns the lights on Lorde's 'Tennis Court'

Globetrotting DJ/super-producer Diplo was one of the first big artists to give Lorde a co-sign, and judging by their social media presences, the two have remained buddies throughout her rapid ascent into pop’s A-list. Today the two took their friendship to the next level with the release of “Diplo’s Andre Agassi Reebok Pump Mix” of “Tennis Court,” the opening track from Lorde’s breakthrough album Pure Heroine.

The original (currently at No. 78 on the Billboard Hot 100) juxtaposes huge vocal hooks, a gothy minimalist synthesizer arrangement, and some precociously over-it lyrics. Diplo being Diplo, his remix splashes neon light over Lorde’s brooding pop with pitch-bending keyboard arpeggios that candy ravers will go cuckoo over.


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Frank Ocean sued by Chipotle, releases song with Diplo and former Clash members [UPDATED]

Well, this might not be the Channel Orange followup we’ve been waiting for. On Friday, burrito emporium Chipotle sued Frank Ocean for backing out on a deal to deliver a song for an advertising campaign. The suit alleges that Chipotle paid Ocean $212,500 to record a new version of “Pure Imagination,” the song made famous in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, for an ad benefiting the restaurant chain’s sustainable farming program. (Several artists, including Willie Nelson, have contributed to the program in the past.) The track was due back in August, but on the day that Ocean was supposed to deliver the tune, he told Chipotle he would not be delivering. READ FULL STORY

Justin Bieber drops Diplo-produced 'All That Matters': Hear it here

Justin Bieber is determined to show you how all-grows-up he is.

Last week, the young man dropped the Timberlake-y “Heartbreaker,” but that was just the beginning. His ten-week “Music Mondays” strategy continues today with “All That Matters,” another smooth, low-key R&B jam designed to seduce your ears, and maybe (just maybe) more.

The track even boasts Diplo as a producer, a move that threatens to imbue his new grooves with some bona fide cred.

Does it work? Give “All That Matters” a spin below and find out for yourself:

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On the scene at the Electric Zoo Festival: David Guetta, Skrillex, Tiesto and more

After a slew of EDM festivals this summer — Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival — New York City’s Electric Zoo served up the season’s last big dose of trance, house, and dubstep.

Featuring a bevy of the biggest names in electronic music performing for three days on New York City’s Randall’s Island, Electric Zoo was an orgiastic, exhausting, often monotonous, occasionally euphoric experience.

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No Doubt announce comeback, new single; what should we expect?

In a post on their official website Monday, No Doubt revealed that their long-awaited sixth studio album will be titled Push and Shove, and that its first single, “Settle Down,” will arrive in July. The news follows last week’s announcement of the band’s upcoming set of live performances in support of the album: at the Teen Choice Awards, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning America‘s Summer Concert Series, all in July.

The question, then, isn’t whether No Doubt still has it. On their last tour in 2009 — meant to inspire the band after an unsuccessful attempt at recording — the group rocketed through its catalog of older and newer hits while Stefani showed that having two kids hasn’t harmed her onstage energy (or her impeccable abs). The real question is: Which No Doubt will fans get to hear this summer? READ FULL STORY

Diplo remixes the Wombats' 'Techno Fan': Hear it here - EXCLUSIVE

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Diplo is the American superproducer behind such dancefloor-filling hits as M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” and Santigold’s “Starstruck.” The Wombats are a trio of Liverpudlians who craft bright, buzzy indie pop concoctions that have made audiences on both sides of the Atlantic shake and swoon. And now, the two camps of jet-setting soundsmiths have come together.

In fact, Diplo got his hands on the Wombats’ new single “Techno Fan” (from their 2011 album This Modern Glitch), and the resulting piece of beat science can be found below in an exclusive Entertainment Weekly premiere. Follow the jump, turn up your speakers and clear some floor space:

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